If your campaign doesn’t establish clear goals, you’ll fall into the trap of mistaking action for progress. With media, donors, volunteers, surrogates, and social media providing an endless stream of unsolicited advice and feedback, it’s easy for the urgent to overtake the important.
It’s especially difficult with a campaign’s digital marketing where every aspect from email to website can be tracked minute by minute with sophisticated analytics. Without setting goals, you’ll miss the forest for the trees.
I use a framework called Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) for setting goals both personally and professionally. It’s particularly well-suited for campaigners who face the unique challenge of an election month (with early voting) and very little hard metrics in between. A political campaign has exactly one time to make a “sale” and there are no second chances. If we were selling soft drinks, a customer could buy our competitor today and our brand tomorrow. That’s not the case with zero sum politics.
Here’s how you can use OKRs to set goals for your campaign’s digital marketing efforts (and more).
An objective is the concrete, well-defined goal you’re marching towards. The more specific the objective is the more likely you’ll be able to reach it. Your digital campaign should have two or three objectives per quarter. Too many and they can’t be priorities.
Some good objectives could be:
- Raise $10,000 online this quarter
- Reach 30,000 Facebook users organically
- Recruit 20 volunteers from online
They’re concrete and specific. There will be no confusion about whether they are achieved or not.
With each objective are three to five key results that are quantifiable and measurable. They relate to the achievement of your goal objectives and must be something within your control. If an objective is controlled by factors beyond your control, it’s a wish.
For example, if your objective is to raise $10,000 online in a quarter, the key results might be:
- Grow the email list by 250 new active subscribers
- Send 12 fundraising emails
- Recruit 3 surrogates to sign fundraising emails
- Create 6 email capture petitions or surveys
- Spend $1,000 to promote petitions and surveys on Facebook
The key results function as the roadmap for achieving your objective. You have the plan for how you need to spend your time over the next quarter. Devoting the time and resources to getting 12 emails out means there are some tasks that you must say no to or spend less time on.
Share Your OKRs
Even if the goals you set are obvious to you, they must be shared with the entire team. If you don’t set your campaign’s priorities, that means staff and vendors will set their own and they might be wrong.
Sharing your OKRs makes you accountable and tells other team members what you need to be successful so they can help.
The pace of campaigns can be overwhelming and if you don’t set clear priorities and measurable goals, you risk being swamped by the tyranny of the urgent.